Tennis star Maria Sharapova has been appointed to a UBS Wealth Management advisory board created to improve the service its offers female clients.

Sharapova (pictured) joins business leaders, entrepreneurs and philanthropists on the board, as part of UBS' five-year plan to significantly scale its expertise in serving female clients. 

The other board members are: 

•     Wendy Appelbaum: owner and chair, De Morgenzon Wine Estate

•     Jane Jie Sun: CEO, International 

•     Michael Kimmel: professor of Sociology at Stony Brook University

•     Dr Angelica Kohlmann: chair and CEO, Kohlmann & Co 

•     Olivia Lum: executive chair and group CEO, Hyflux Group

•     Ebru Özdemir: chair, Limak Investments

•     Dr Ellen Ringier: president, Stiftung Elternsein

•     Giovanna Rovati-Forlanelli: general manager, Rottapharm Biotech

The advisory board will work closely with UBS’ senior wealth management executives on the program, named UBS Unique.

UBS pointed to research suggesting women are less confident than men when it comes to investing, claiming fewer than half describe themselves as financially confident.

UBS believes the rewards could be significant however if the financial industry gets this right, with female investors expected to invest $2.3 trillion in socially responsible investments by 2021.

Head of the program Dr Mara Harvey said: 'The amount of private wealth controlled by women is set to grow faster than men’s year-on-year for the next five years.

'This changing dynamic requires the industry to change with it. We have set ourselves an ambitious task which we cannot do alone.

She added: 'The advisory board will play a pivotal role in helping us shape the future of our business; one that supports women in all their investment needs.

'We want to provide women with the knowledge and confidence to make the best financial decisions for them and to achieve the social impact they want.' 

The advisory board held its first meeting at the end of June. It was joined by speakers Jude Kelly CBE, artistic director of London's Southbank Centre, and founder of the WOW Women of the World festivals, and Joelle Tanguy, director of UN women’s strategic partnerships division.

Tanguy said: 'At UN Women, we’re looking to leverage the power of investors in innovative ways. I was delighted to engage with UBS Unique’s Advisory Board to explore how to drive further that agenda across the industry.

'Impact investments that target women will be essential to achieve many goals faster, including poverty eradication, zero hunger, education, health and economic growth.'